Thursday, September 16, 2010

The CHL's worst arenas?

The Regina Pats got their roster down to 29 players with three moves on Thursday. . . . F Brennan Tutt, 18, who walked on with them after being released by the Seattle Thunderbirds, and F Jesse Hall, 19, were re-assigned and are expected to play junior A. . . . F Cass Mappin, 20, was placed on waivers. Mappin is a four-year WHL veteran, having also played with the Red Deer Rebels and Vancouver Giants. . . . Regina’s roster includes four goaltenders and nine defencemen. It also includes five players at NHL camps.

The Vancouver Giants have traded F Brandon Scholten, who turns 18 on Oct. 15, to the Prince George Cougars for a fifth-round pick in the 2012 bantam draft. Scholten, 6-foot-2 and 208 pounds, is from Langley, B.C. He had one assist and 68 penalty minutes in 37 games last season.
The Prince Albert Raiders are involved in an adopt-a-school program, and one local school has been adopted by the parents of one of the team’s prospects. Sandra and Claude Lorange, whose son, Michael, was a third-round pick of the Raiders in the 2010 bantam draft, adopted Princess Margaret School after traveling to Prince Albert for training camp. According to a Raiders news release, the school will receive four child and two adult season tickets for use this season. "Claude and I wanted to be a part of the Adopt-a-School program sponsored by the Raiders so children in the community could be rewarded for their efforts and at the same time be able to participate in Prince Albert's community life and attend Raiders hockey games," Sandra said. "I came with my son to the Raiders camp in August and found a warm and friendly community in Prince Albert. So I left Prince Albert with this great sense of community. The two of us decided to participate in this program which benefits children and rewards them for their learning and growing."
Justin Bourne, a former pro hockey player who retired after the 2008-09 season, has an interesting piece right here. He writes about steroids in hockey. Yes, they are there; they just aren’t as prevalent as some people want you to believe.
Neate Sager, over at Yahoo! Sports, has picked the five worst arenas in the CHL. He did this after Vancouver Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault, a former QMJHL player and coach, told Iain MacIntyre of the Vancouver Sun that a few cities in that league need new arenas before Quebec City needs an NHL-type arena.
Sager goes west to east with his list and, yes, No. 1 is the Moose Jaw Civic Centre (aka the Crushed Can). “The Warriors have needed a new arena the way a man on fire could use a drink of water for several years,” he writes.
Of course, Moose Jaw needs a new arena. But I, for one, will shed a tear when the Warriors vacate the Crushed Can. I spent 17 years at the Regina Leader-Post so watched a fair number of games under that roof. There is nothing quite like watching it sway on a windy January night when it’s -30C outside.
I watched Theo Fleury and Mike Keane and Mark MacKay and Blair Atcheynum and Rob Trumbley and Donovan Nunweiler and Kent Staniforth and Rob Harvey and Darryl Gilmour and Greg Kvisle and Lorne Molleken and Gerry James and Jim Harrison and Kevin Gallant (dressed up like Donald Duck) . . . perform in that building.
I was there the night Mike Babcock, then the Warriors’ GM and head coach, held Bikini Night. Gawd, it was cold. There were big goosebumps that night. And the night when the Warriors beat Regina for the first time, something the Pats didn’t take well. Yes, there was a brawl; yes, it included all the players on both teams -- none of this mamby-pamby four-on-four or five-on-five stuff we see now. And it went on forever. No, the WHL wasn’t impressed.
The Crushed Can has character and its fans have character. I don’t know if he’s still there, but for years there was a fan who wore big leather mitts and stood behind the net the visiting team would defend twice a game. He would cup the mitts over his mouth and yell through a space between the glass. He would, you can bet, drive the visiting goaltender around the bend.
A good friend of mine who has considerable coaching experience in Saskatchewan used to tell me that fan was worth at least a goal a game to the Warriors.
One of the rooms beside the visitor's dressing room was where fans went to imbibe during the intermissions. In those days, they were allowed to smoke in that room. The coughing you heard came from the visiting team. Now that's home-ice advantage!
All of that, and more, will be gone when the Crushed Can goes.
They can build new arenas these days, but they can’t build them like that one.
Ahh, maybe it’s a good thing.
Anyway . . . check out Sager’s piece right here.
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